Energy Drinks: the New Coffee
Energy drinks, which often include caffeine and ginseng, are the new coffee and cola for our kids. And concerns are being raised about the effects such a high dose of caffeine can have on kids’ bodies, particularly their hearts.
There are also concerns about a link between teen consumption of energy drinks and increased risk of substance abuse and depression.
New Study Findings
In 2011, “the U.S. Drug Abuse Warning Network reported a tenfold spike in emergency-room visits involving energy drinks. In some 70% of cases involving teens age 12 to 17, the energy-drink itself—not drugs or alcohol—was the main reason for going to the ER.” (1)
Further investigations by the FDA into these “nutritional supplements” has revealed adverse event reports for several brands of energy drinks following reports made by patients, families and/or doctors.
According to a recent Atlantic Canada study (whose results were published in the journal Preventative Medicine) out of 8,200 high school students, 20 percent of students reported drinking one or more energy drinks per month in the previous year.
The study also showed that the most intense users tended to be more likely to be depressed, and more likely to have substance abuse. Researchers point out that there is no evidence that drinking energy drinks leads to substance abuse. (3)
It is still unclear what the actual association is between depression, substance abuse and energy drink consumption, but it is supposed that teens just like the temporary benefits of “increased alertness, improved mood and enhanced mental and physical energy.” (3)
It is commonly known and accepted that those who consume caffeinated beverages experience a “caffeine crash” when energy levels return to pre-caffeinated levels.
It is entirely reasonable to speculate that this crash can also result in a feeling of depression and the drive to look for ways of keeping energy levels at a higher rate. But, again, in light of no conclusive evidence, this is just speculation.
Energy Drinks versus Coffee